I have been a fan of Dr. Bronner’s castile soaps for probably 30 years or more (yipes! I guess I must be much older than I realized), even before I used the peppermint one during a raft trip in Oregon. There’s nothing quite like having a chilly river as your bath tub and washing off with tingly peppermint soap. Invigorating!
I also love Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds, an all-purpose cleaning formula soap. And I love knowing that Dr. B’s products are healthy for me and easy on the planet. AND I love (that’s a lot of loves!) the fact that “magic” is part of the brand name, as in Dr. Bronner’s Magic Castile Soaps. 🙂 If you are not familiar with these great, multi-purpose health aids, here’s an article from Care2.com that will introduce you to some of the many ways to replace chemical/toxin-laden home and beauty items with something much more fun and user-friendly….
12 GREAT WAYS TO USE CASTILE SOAP
(Chaya, selected from NetWorx) I buy my castile soap in bulk. I’m just a super twigs-and-granola kinda gal, which means I use castile soap by the bucketful. But don’t worry, for those less committed to “crunchy” life, they also sell it in small, tester portions.
I never knew what “castile” was until I started using the stuff, but the moniker just describes a style of soap, not a brand. Think tissue, not Kleenex. Castile means that it’s made from 100 percent plant oils (no animal products like tallow, which show up in most commercial soaps). It’s also a true soap, not a chemical detergent, making castile soap completely biodegradable and very earth-friendly.
What follows is a list of ways to incorporate this cheap, environmentally awesome ingredient into your daily life. Some of the ideas are for beginners, or “hippie-lite.” Others are out and out barefoot-moon-dancing-earth-mother. (Okay, maybe castile soap is not so hippie. Denver plumbing company Quality First Plumbing recommends hot water and castile soap as an all-purpose household cleaner, and they are plumbers, not hippies.) Just pick and choose as you please! And don’t forget, you can add various essential oil herbal infusions to each of these recipes, to customize and diversify your castile soaping experience. Maybe you like orange blossom to clean your tile flooring, and peppermint on your dishes. Lot’s of people prefer lemon in the bathroom, and I love lavender in my laundry. And each oil or herb will confer its own properties. For example, eucalyptus is an antimicrobial, and chamomile is a relaxant. The possibilities are endless and it’s oh-so fun to experiment!
1. Shampoo: Use castile soap as a stand-in for a harsh detergent-based shampoo. Give your head a break! Just mix castile soap with water at a ratio of 1:3.
2. Laundry Detergent: You can make your own laundry detergent with simple, common ingredients. Save tons money and do the environment a friendly favor. It’s a win-win!
3. Tub Scrub: Make a tile or toilet “soft scrub” out of baking soda and castile soap. Simply fill a spray bottle with a dilution of 1:3 castile to water. Sprinkling the area you wish to clean with a liberal dusting of baking soda, then spray the castile solution over the top. Scour with a sponge or scrub brush and watch the stains disappear. This also works great on crusty stovetops!
4. Mopping Solution: Use 2 or 3 tablespoons of castile soap in a full bucket of water, and mop mop mop your floors to a sparkly new luster.
5. Dish Soap: Make a dishwashing soap (for hand washing) or a liquid hand soap (for washing hands) by simply mixing a 1:1 ratio of castile to water.
6. Dishwasher Detergent: Make a fancier DIY liquid dishwasher detergent that’s inexpensive and eco-friendly.
7. Soap Dispenser Refill: You can refill your foaming hand soap dispenser with 1 part castile soap to 4 parts water.
8. Body Wash: You can use castile soap as a gentle yet efficient bath soap/body wash. They actually sell castile bar soap, but if you want to use the liquid just dilute it in a 2:1 ratio of castile to water.
9. Dog Shampoo: What’s good enough for you is even better for your pet! Use the same ratio listed above for an awesome DIY doggie shampoo.
10. Toothpaste: You can actually use castile soap in place of your toothpaste, and pure soap is much better for your teeth than the nasty chemicals they put in most commercial pastes. Just add a few drops directly to your wet brush. It works wonders, although the flavor can take some getting used to!
11. Veggie Wash: Make a simple veggie wash for cleansing all your produce. Add 1 tablespoon castile soap to 2 cups of water, and keep the mixture in a squirt bottle near the kitchen sink.
12. Carpet Cleaner: Finally, you can make an effective carpet cleaner by mixing 1/4 cup castile into 1 cup water. Place the solution in the blender and let it fly until it forms a stiff foam. Apply as you would any other carpet cleaning product.
Swanson’s list of top 20 uses for Dr Bronner’s Castile Soap:
And here’s a link to a “dilutions cheat sheet” pdf you can download that gives you the different dilutions for working with castile soap:
FYI, you can get Dr. Bronner’s (and other brands of liquid castile soap) at discount prices at iHerb.com and Vitacost.com, two of my favorite on-line places to shop for health supplements, personal care products, food items and more.
7/27/13 UPDATE: I just happened to come across this post by Anthony N. that contains some background history on the Dr. Bronner’s brand that I think you’ll find interesting…
I’m a big fan of Dr. Bronner’s soap. I think it’s one of the best natural health products that I use on a regular basis. I also think that it probably has the most interesting story out of any health product that I buy from Swanson. I say probably because I have yet to find out the entire story. However, I will share with you what I already know…
When I first bought Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap about five months ago, I thought I was getting just another ordinary all natural hand soap. But when I opened the box, my first thought was “this bottle is smaller than I thought it was going to be.” My next thought was “look at the label on this thing, it’s crazy.” The label was unlike anything I had ever seen. The entire label is covered with text. Tiny little text, written in every possible direction. Take a look for yourself. I knew there had to be a fascinating story behind this product or brand.
I decided to do a Google search on Dr. Bronner’s soap and came across a trailer for a documentary made on Dr. Emanuel Bronner. I’m a huge fan of documentary films and also a big fan of The Sundance Film Festival, where this film played. After watching the trailer, I realized that I was correct on my label-based assumption that there was a crazy story behind this soap.
Emanuel Bronner was deeply religious and had a strong belief in the goodness of humanity, despite having parents that were killed in the Holocaust. His packaging is covered with his “Moral ABCs,” his philosophy, with a wide variety of influences from Christianity to Rudyard Kipling’s poetry. At one point in his life, Dr. Bronner was arrested and committed to a mental hospital, but he escaped after receiving electric shock therapy. Emanuel Bronner died in 1997, when he was 89 years old.
There are a lot of things to like about the Bronner brand. When he died, his soap factory produced over 1 million bottles of soap per year, yet was still not machine driven. The company does not advertise or have a sales department, instead relying on word of mouth advertising. The products are certified fair trade, entirely natural and use organic oils. Best of all, the brand is known for its generosity and donations to a wide range of charities.
I look forward to watching the life story of this eccentric soap-maker. For those who are subscribers to Netflix, the documentary is currently available for online streaming. Also, have no fear on the little bottle size I mentioned above. This soap can produce tons of lather with just a few drops and seems to last forever. I’m still on my first bottle. It can be used as an all natural hand soap, deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste or practically anything else. I even use it to clean the floors. I recommend you buy it yourself, if only to read the label.
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